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PNR Code: What it is & Where to Find it

PNR Code: What it is & Where to Find it

Nicolle Harwood-Nash
6 minutes read
Last Updated: March 27, 2024

Got a flight to catch soon? Among the sea of details to keep track of is the all-important PNR number, also known as a PNR code, an essential element of seamless air travel experiences. But what exactly is a PNR number, and why do you need it?

In this concise guide, our team at AirAdvisor unravels the mystery behind the PNR number, detailing what it is, showing you where to find it and explaining why it's a vital part of your travel toolkit.

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What Is a PNR Code?

When you book a flight, you get something called a PNR number, which stands for Passenger Name Record. This unique code acts as a digital suitcase, neatly packing all crucial details about your trip into one organised space. Not only does it streamline your travel experience, but it also assists airlines in keeping their operations smooth and coordinated.

How Can I Find My PNR Number?

Finding your PNR code is typically an easy feat. There can be several places you may locate it:

  • Booking Confirmation Email: Often located at the top or within the booking details section.
  • Paper Ticket: Typically found in a specified section, generally clearly marked.
  • Airline's Mobile App: Accessible in the "My Trips" or "Booking Details" section.
  • Travel Agency's Documentation: Usually clearly indicated on the documents they provide.

Is a PNR Number the Same as a Booking Number?

Yes, a PNR number is often synonymous with a booking number or booking code. It's a unique code that holds all the vital details concerning your flight reservation. Different airlines or booking platforms might use varying terminology, but essentially, they all refer to this unique identifier that helps them and you manage your trip efficiently.

What’s the Difference Between a Booking Number and a Flight Number?

While a booking number (or PNR number) refers to your personal flight reservation and contains all the specific details about your trip, a flight number is something entirely different.

A flight number is allocated to a particular route or journey operated by the airline, indicating specific flight details like the route, time, and date of the flight. Every passenger on the same flight will have the same flight number; however, each passenger will have a unique booking code to identify their individual reservation on that flight.

In short, while the booking number is your personal identifier for your flight reservation, the flight number is a shared identifier for everyone on that particular flight.

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When Do I Get My PNR Number?

Your PNR number is created as soon as you book your flight, making it one of the first pieces of information you receive. Once your booking gets the green light, be it from an airline or travel agency, they send a confirmation message, either through email or SMS. This message usually contains your PNR number, along with other important details you'll need for your trip.

If you decide to book your ticket at a physical counter or through a travel agency instead of online, you'll still receive a PNR number. In these cases, it'll be clearly printed on your ticket or included in the travel documents given to you.

So, no matter how you book your flight, your PNR number will be readily available soon after you make your booking, helping you keep all your travel information in one place for easy access during your journey.

a woman in airport with flight ticket in hand

How Do I Use My Passenger Name Record Code?

Using your Passenger Name Record (PNR) code is relatively straightforward, yet vital in ensuring smooth travel. The primary use of your PNR number is to retrieve your booking details at various stages of your journey. Below, you can explore some of the main instances in which your PNR number is your gateway to essential travel information and amenities:

  • Checking in Online: Inputting your PNR code allows you to check in online, for a swift and effortless airport experience. This procedure often becomes available to you 24 to 48 hours before your scheduled flight time, providing you with the luxury of checking in from the comfort of your home or office.
  • Customer Service Queries: If you need help from the airline's customer service department at any point during your trip, having your PNR number handy facilitates quicker responses and solutions. You might also find help through the airline's mobile app, where you can use your PNR code to access a range of customer services.
  • Accessing Your Itinerary: Your PNR number is essential when you want to view or print your flight itinerary from the airline's website or app. This code can sometimes also be used to access exclusive travel deals and offers related to your journey, enhancing your overall travel experience.
  • Managing Your Booking: Whether it's selecting your seat or adding special requests to your booking, your PNR number is the key to a personalised flight experience. Additionally, in instances of flight disruptions, it allows you to receive personalised updates and information, helping you to stay informed and prepared throughout your journey.

Another, albeit less common, instance in which you may need to use your PNR code, is if you need to change details on your booking, particularly a name change. Often, it's as simple as visiting the airline's official website or contacting their customer service team, with your PNR number handy, to initiate the process of changing the name on a flight ticket.

Please note that we highly recommend you check the specific airline's policy regarding name changes, as different carriers may have varying procedures and fees associated with this service.

Do I need a PNR number when claiming compensation?

When claiming compensation from an airline for a flight disruption or other grievance, having your PNR number on hand can be incredibly beneficial. As mentioned, this unique code doesn't only serve as a repository of your travel information, but provides a quick reference point for the airline to access your booking details.

Having your PNR code in reach when claiming compensation for a delayed flight, for example, can demonstrate preparedness and organisation, which can expedite the process. It allows the airline to easily verify your claim and facilitate a smoother resolution process, ensuring that no time is lost because of back-and-forth communications seeking additional information.

More often than not, the airline or handling agency will request your PNR number as a necessary detail to process your compensation request.

Lastly, having your PNR number readily accessible might also aid in safeguarding your rights as a passenger. In complex situations where multiple pieces of information are needed to build a robust case, every detail counts. Your PNR number can corroborate other pieces of evidence, like boarding passes or receipts, making your claim more substantial and grounded.

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What happens if I lose my PNR code?

While losing your PNR code might seem like a reason to panic, it's usually a problem that can be remedied fairly easily. If you happen to misplace your code, the first step is to check any emails or documents from the time of booking, as it's usually prominently displayed on these.

If you still can't find it, your next step can be to contact the airline or travel agency through which you made the booking. They can assist you in retrieving your PNR number using other details such as your name and various bits of flight information.

Remember, despite the inconvenience, losing your PNR code isn't a dead-end; with little effort, you can retrieve it to ensure a smooth travel experience.

How many digits does a PNR code have?

A PNR code consists of a sequence of 6 alpha-numeric characters, generated randomly to ensure uniqueness. The airlines' computer reservation systems create this 6-digit code.

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